The lovely Tomoe Gozen decapitates Uchida Ieyoshi, 1184 AD
During the era of warring shoguns in Medieval Japan, it was not uncommon for women to become warriors, either serving a lord independently or fighting alongside a Samurai husband. One of the most famous examples was Tomoe Gozen, a warrior who served the Daimyo Lord Minamoto no Yoshinaka during the Genpei War. Beautiful and attractive, she was also a very skilled fighter according to the Tale of Heike,
"Tomoe was especially beautiful, with white skin, long hair, and charming features. She was also a remarkably strong archer, and as a swordswoman she was a warrior worth a thousand, ready to confront a demon or a god, mounted or on foot. She handled unbroken horses with superb skill; she rode unscathed down perilous descents. Whenever a battle was imminent, Yoshinaka sent her out as his first captain, equipped with strong armor, an oversized sword, and a mighty bow; and she performed more deeds of valor than any of his other warriors."
Unfortunately Yoshinaka’s forces were heavily outnumbered by those of his rival cousin, Yoritomo. After the defeat of Yoshinaka at the Battle of Awazu in 1184, he ordered Gozen to flee. Gozen was only able to escape capture after beheading the Samurai Uchida Ieyoshi in single combat.
After the Battle of Awazu she was challenged to a duel by the Samurai General Wada Yoshimori on the condition that if she lost she was to become his wife. It was the only time in her life that she lost a fight. They had a long and happy marriage until Wada was killed in battle on 1213 AD. Afterwards Gozen gave up the sword and became a nun, devoting the rest of her life to Buddha.